Peter Navarro, a trade advisor to former president Donald Trump, has been sentenced to four months in prison for his refusal to testify before the congressional panel investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Navarro, a 74-year-old economist educated at Harvard, was found guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress by a federal jury in Washington after a two-day trial in September.
US District Judge Amit Mehta has handed down a four-month prison sentence, which is two months shorter than what the prosecutors had initially requested. Additionally, Navarro has been ordered to pay a fine of $9,500.
“You are not a victim,” The Washington Post quoted Mehta as saying at Navarro’s sentencing hearing. “You are not the object of a political prosecution. These are circumstances of your own making.”
Navarro declined to participate in a deposition before the House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6 attack on Congress by Trump supporters. He also refused to provide documents to the panel. As a result, Navarro has become the second close ally of Trump to be found guilty of contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas from the House committee. The first ally, Steve Bannon, who played a significant role in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was also convicted of contempt of Congress. Bannon received a four-month prison sentence but is currently free pending an appeal. Similarly, Navarro is expected to appeal the conviction.
Meanwhile, Trump is set to face trial in March in Washington on charges of conspiring to overturn the results of the November 2020 presidential election, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden. Additionally, Trump faces similar charges in a separate case in Georgia. In a book, Navarro detailed a plan called the “Green Bay sweep” to reverse Biden’s victory by obstructing confirmation in the House. He stated that Trump was supportive of this strategy.
Another former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, also refused to appear before the House committee investigating the Capitol attack but has not been charged with contempt of Congress.
Meadows argued that as a former top advisor to the president, he had immunity from being compelled to testify. However, this defense was unsuccessful for Navarro and Bannon. Trump, who is currently 77 years old, was impeached for a second time by the House following the Capitol riot, with charges of inciting an insurrection. However, he was acquitted by the Senate.